It did not take look for Kobe Bryant to exert his presence. This time, it did not involve Bryant shooting a shot or calling out a teammate. With Bryant sidelined during the Lakers’ 92-90 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday at Staples Center, the Lakers’ 37-year-old star made a rare appearance on the bench.
That prompted Bryant to motion to rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. to get out of his seat so Bryant could squeeze in at the end of the bench toward the end of the first quarter.
“I heard the huge cheer with Kobe coming onto the court. I was just minding my own business and watching the game. All of a sudden, I hear, ‘Nance, Nance! Get up!'” Nance Jr. recalled with amusement. “I looked at the coaches like, ‘I’m going in?’ No. [Kobe said], ‘I need my seat.'”
Nance Jr. happily obliged even though it required him to sit on the floor.
“It’s not like, ‘Oh no, I’m a man, you can’t have my seat,'” Nance Jr. said. “It’s out of respect. You earned that. Come on now. If there’s anybody now that deserves and earns to be able to do that, it would be him.”
Still, Nance Jr. could have defended himself, arguing he needed the added comfort both to stay ready for the game and to give room for his previously sore right knee to stretch out comfortably.
“I don’t think that would’ve worked,” Nance Jr. said, laughing.
Nance Jr. admitted he may have responded differently had another teammate requested a seat. He joked he would have given Nick Young “a hard time,” before admitted he’d “probably do it” since he’s a nine-year NBA veteran.
But Nance Jr. sounded more amused than upset at the situation. In fact, he sounded more upset about officials taking issue with Nance Jr’s new seating arrangement.
“They made me get off the floor too,” Nance Jr. said. “Apparently its a league wide rule. Nobody wanted me.”